By Ted Lucidi, CBET
It’s a given that your service team needs ongoing, specialized and in-depth training on maintaining and troubleshooting the devices you have in your imaging departments. However, sometimes the soft training, training on strategies and processes for lowering your costs, optimizing performance and managing ROI is missed. From years of experience, we’ve discovered that employing this skill set often pays off the most for long-term savings, ownership costs and maximizing uptime. Here’s some tips about the soft side of training that can deliver some hard and real results:
Process Analysis: It pays to engage an expert to come and audit every step your team takes when it comes to handling and caring for your ultrasound probes, especially TEE probes. We have found that a single facility can reduce maintenance costs by 50% or more in just months by taking concerted actions to avoid issues that can cause downtime and/or permanent damage like trauma, fluid invasion and damage from cleaning practices and chemical disinfectants.
Preventative Maintenance: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (or time and money in this business). We’ve helped customers avoid costly repairs and downtime by adding their TEE probes to a proactive PM program. By replacing bending rubbers, re-sealing lenses, adjusting the articulation and other seemingly little issues which we’ve identified, before they have an opportunity to progress, significant failures can be mitigated, and considerable expenses can be minimized. A proactive PM program, designed to focus upon wearable items, can extend the life of TEE probes, increase your ROI and delay, minimize or eliminate the need to purchase costly replacements saving your department budget and enabling your capital budgets to go further.
Partner Selection: It’s costly to keep changing providers for your repair needs. It consumes resources within your own department having to research repair capabilities, pricing, loaner availability and options and it encumbers your supply chain and billing departments. To maximize your time and allow you to focus upon proactive activities, service teams should qualify their potential providers by taking a look under the hood of each being considered.
Ask providers very specific questions important to you and your customers … What you can expect as far as repair capabilities, loaner availability, repair methodologies, quality systems applied, turnaround time and pricing for individual versus multiple transactions. Although reducing service costs is important, it should not be a key qualifier in the decision-making process.
Is the provider going to address just what was reported or will they take a holistic approach to the product? Does the provider perform repairs in-house or outsource to a third-party whose processes they don’t monitor or control? If so, what is and how much of the process is outsourced? Insist on touring a potential repair provider’s facility either in-person or virtually. Have the provider use Skype or Facetime to walk you through their repair operations and show you part of the repair process to your product.
Some other items to consider are a provider’s commitment to ISO certification, if they are certified, to which standard and how recent or current is their certification. Knowing a provider’s commitment to ISO certification and actual approach to repair is key to knowing what you can expect in terms of outcomes, sustainability and repair ROI.
One of the keys to a solid partnership with a repair provider is that provider’s ability to help your team maximize product lifecycles and ROI. Do they offer consultative services? Do they and how can they help you and your team meet the goals you’ve established?
As you look at your budgets for the rest of this year and on to next year, take a look at partner programs that can help set you up for higher efficiencies, greater ROIs, extended lifecycles for your imaging devices and set your team up to operate proactively versus reactively!
Ted Lucidi, CBET, is the technical and clinical specialist for Innovatus Imaging and manages the customer experience and end-user training programs. For a list of questions to ask, techniques and best-practices to help you find a partner you can count on for the long-term, email TedL@innovatusimaging.com.
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